04 September 2013

Dance, Rhoda, Dance...

Valerie Harper has been announced as a celebrity on the new season of “Dancing With The Stars.”  Normally, the announcement  of the new line-up would be nothing I would even notice, but Harper’s name caught my attention. 

It was only earlier this year that Harper announced she had terminal brain cancer and had been given only three months left to live. She faced this news with an unbelievable amount of grace, determined to enjoy her health while it lasted and with seemingly no bitterness over her fate. Shortly after hearing the news, I discovered that ME TV was airing episodes of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda" each night. It was so much fun to watch "Rhoda" and witness Harper's excellent comedic timing. 

Now, six months later, comes news that not only is she, according to her doctor, “pretty close to remission,” she is healthy enough to undergo the rigorous training “DWTS” requires. 

Her doctor cautioned that the remission will not be permanent and that treatment will eventually become ineffective, but it sure seems like she’s been given a wonderful and unexpected reprieve.

Harper will appear as the subject of a Meredith Viera special on NBC Sept. 9 and in the special, she says “Life is about buying time.” 

That saying really struck me because it’s so true. We come into this life with absolutely no idea when our time will be up. I’ve often wondered how we would live our lives differently, or if we would, if we knew when we would die. If someone knew she was going to live until 95 would she take her time and not feel pressure to check things off her bucket list until she hit 75 or so? If someone knew her life would end at 40, would she spend all of her adult years pursuing pleasures and not worrying about saving money or working for anything other than to pay for those pursuits?  

Harper knows that her countdown clock is ticking in a more finite way than most of us know and she’s decided how she wants to spend the minutes. Maybe there’s something we all can learn from that. 

Today’s $10 goes to Voices Against Brain Cancer. The New York non-profit raises funds for scientific research, awareness of the disease, and support for brain cancer patients. 

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